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Murphy Jax – We Dance review

Given his love for blurring the lines between vintage Chicago jack, shiny Paradise Garage style proto-house and original electro-pop, it was probably only a matter of time before fast-rising producer Murphy Jax made an appearance on Tiga’s Turbo label. So far, the accurately-named Jax has impressed with two stand-out releases; a superb retro-house collaboration with Mike Dunn on Clone’s Jack for Daze offshoot (“It’s The Music”) and the bubbling Masters Of Meta Space EP on My Favourite Robot – a collection of star-gazing space disco jackers with a thrilling electro-pop bent. It says something about Jax’s talents that this third EP raises the bar again after two previously impeccable releases. Without a shadow of a doubt, We Dance is his best release to date. So far, at least – he has more 12” singles ready to drop imminently.

Like his previous output, We Dance comes loaded with raw analogue funk, endorphin-releasing synth chords and dancefloor-baiting acid tweakery – all wrapped up in the German’s trademark retro-futurist production. It’s a sound that unashamedly looks to dance music’s past – most notably New York and Chicago in the mid 1980s – but never sounds anything less than 100 per cent current.

The EP is itself is something of an epic at seven tracks deep, but it rarely drags – thanks in no small part to a hot-to-trot mix of near-perfect original material and on-point remixes. Of the original material, it’s the title track itself that most impresses. A near-perfect fusion of touchy-feely early 80s Italo-influenced synth pop (think the Pet Shop Boys Please album) and dubbed-out Chicago jack, it’s pop-house perfection. There are two unfeasibly heavy remixes, too, from Populette (radio-friendly rave-jack) and Freak Seven (growling, percussive darkroom acid).

Elsewhere, there’s plenty more to get excited about, not least the foreboding electronic growl of “8BitEpos” and the anthemic space disco-jack of “Suburban Path”. There’s also the small matter of “Time To Bump”, an emotion-rich builder that fixes snappy 808 beats and 303 tweaks to a grandiose synth wash seemingly inspired by “West End Girls”. That gets a fittingly bumpin’, bass-heavy rework from Matt Walsh and Zhao that offers the perfect finale to a near-perfect release.

Matt Anniss